AAustralia is facing a lettuce shortage that has caused prices to soar and even prompted fast-food giant KFC to put cabbage in its burgers.
The company has told customers it will use a mix of lettuce and cabbage in its restaurants, citing supply chain disruptions after heavy flooding on the east coast wiped out much of the lettuce crop earlier. early in the year.
Australian consumers have also been hit with sky-high prices for the humble salad ingredient in grocery store aisles. Shoppers boast on social media that they pay around AU$12 ($8.61) for a head of iceberg lettuce, as well as higher prices for other produce, with costs exceeding AU$25 for a watermelon .
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From lettuce to poultry, 2022 has had no shortage of food supply hiccups. This is at least the second time this year that KFC Australia has found itself without supplies of key components for some of its most popular offerings. He had to cut menu items in January due to chicken shortages.
Australia’s fruit and vegetable stamp shock is mainly due to weather events such as flooding, according to government forecaster Abares. The country is still grappling with pandemic-related supply chain disruptions and ongoing labor shortages, as well as access to important imported machinery.
“In normal times, fruit and vegetable prices tend to recover relatively quickly and return to normal as production in other regions becomes available to fill supply gaps,” Abares said in Tuesday’s its quarterly outlook. “However, in 2022-23, almost every aspect of the supply chain faces inflationary pressures.”
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This puts Australia, a major agricultural exporter, on par with the rest of the world as food prices rise. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has disrupted global supply chains and driven up the price of vital agricultural inputs, such as fertilizer and diesel. A United Nations gauge of world food prices is near record highs.
Consumer prices for fruit and vegetables in Australia rose sharply in the March quarter, by 4.9% and 6.6% respectively, according to Abares.
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